Saturday, June 30, 2012


I can't get over how much fun I'm having working through the stack of resist dyed felted wool pieces I made in a Chad Hagan workshop....

 This one is a bit larger than the majority of pieces we dyed.....measuring 12' x 8" (rather than 6" x 7").  I forgot to take a BEFORE photo....cause I was so anxious to get started....but happily I remembered to pull the camera out before stitching was too far along.

Here's what it looked like at the end of the on the photo for a closer look.  Sure.....there's not much to see yet.....truly, the stitching didn't take that long, but the thread color and stitch style decisions did.  

All for now....MUST get my walking shoes on as 'the dog' and 'the husband' are both whining at the door.  It's unusually hot here in the Blue Ridge while the temperatures are still down from overnight.....the 90 minute daily 'forced march' must go on.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


The family wedding we attended over the weekend was so special...we adore our niece and have a great kinship with her (now) husband already.

The wedding/reception followed most of the typical traditions.....however their special personal touches were so inventive.

For instance....look at this table marker......why on earth would anyone number a table like that?  NO.....there weren't 356 tables.  I was going to explain the significance but just now as I'm typing....I decided to ask if anyone knows before I reveal it.  Do you??

We loved that each table had their own cake....of course the bride and groom had their special one too AND the groom had a nice big chocolate cake with chocolate frosting that was offered to guests as well.'s the really amazing treat......  click here for a very short video taken by 'the husband' (mine...not the groom).  In case you aren't inclined or don't have time to click over to youtube....let me explain.  They hired the University of Wisconsin's Badger Marching Band to appear at the reception.  And did they make an appearance......only a few people knew this was imagine the commotion when we heard them playing (loudly, very loudly) as they marched down the hall and into the ballroom.....amazing!!

Who'd have thunk you could hire a small contingent of band members for such an appearance?  My clever SIL, that's who!

UPDATE.....Wendy asked about the table numbers.....(surprisingly was the only one)....guess that means personalizing is just that personal to those close by others...not so much.  Anyway....the numbers all referred to model numbers of Porsche's.  Our niece's guy shares our passion for autos that begin with a "P" and unfortunately end in dollar signs!  We got a big kick out of that!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


So......we just returned from a fast trip to Wisconsin to attend a family wedding.....and to meet our first grandson who at 7 weeks old, also made the trip from SFO (oh, along with his parents!)

 We'll admit to being foodies......and go out of our way to find our favorite comfort foods while back in the Midwest.  I'm guessing at least half the population in Wisconsin attends a 'fish fry' on Friday nights.  The other half wish they did!  Of course fried cheese curds replace the usual fresh fries!

We got hooked on Uno's deep dish pizza during our days living in's still my favorite.  I've come pretty close to duplicating the recipe....but not enough that I can pass up the real thing.

 Madison, WI has an excellent (though SUPER crowded) Saturday farmer's market where the cheese curds are so fresh they squeak. 

My passion for Culver's concrete chocolate malts has been confessed to many a time on this blog......and you can be sure that craving was satisfied too!  We are excited to know that the chain is opening a restaurant in the Greenville, SC area....oh my....that's only 90 mins. away.....certainly doable!

BUT....the sweetest treat of them all was being able to spend time with Raiden....yup...he's a big boy of 13 lbs. at 7 weeks old.  However.....considering he was nearly 9 lbs when he was born.....we fully expect him to walk any day now!  Our darling DIL is holding this very well behaved child....seriously, I couldn't take my eyes off of him.  

For those of you who haven't yet experienced this new phase in your life.....I'm here to tell you it's worth waiting for!

Monday, June 25, 2012


It's been awhile......and I have lots to share with you about my recent adventure.....but's a look at the project we've been following which I believe is complete. (Thanks Gwen for suggesting the name of this piece!)

TRACKS 6.5" X 7"
Artist resist dyed felted wool, hand embroidered and beaded.
Available here

 detail # 1
 detail # 2

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


For such a tiny piece....I still don't have much to show for my efforts.....No I've said many times....this isn't a race.....

The piece needs more texture and blending of materials...but not sure exactly how or what just yet.....but that's the fun isn't it??  Or it should be!

I expect to be quiet for the next few days while I'll be meeting our new grandbaby for the first distractions....just pure selfish joy.....  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


My time has been consumed working on Bookworm Gardens quilt which is now all basted and quilting has begun.  The reveal will be posted when it's complete.

In the meantime, the pile of felted resist dyed wool pieces I made at a Chad Hagan workshop began to call me.  LOVE, love, love all the different designs and colors, but am finding they are a big challenge for me.

 For instance, this little guy is only 6" x 7".  (a.) There's not a lot of room to develop a design (b.) the background is very busy  (c.) embellishments must be scaled quite small.

I'm really just doodling with needle/thread/beads.....not sure where it's going. Keeping my hands busy in the evening is my goal and if this piece turns out pleasing later....well, what more can a gal ask for?

I went to bed NOT liking the beadwork in the center black lines....first thing this morning it didn't look so bad, but now an hour later....Yuck.....  Maybe as I mull ideas over today during my other tasks some other direction will come to me.  Let's see if I can improve it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Work on my brother's Bookworm Gardens Memorial quilt continues.  Even though I'll post one long process blog when the whole piece is's a peak.

Perhaps you'll feel kinship with the ever present 'decision' dilemma.  What's right?  What's wrong?  Am I forcing the design just so I can move the construction process along?  We've all been there.

Today I had planned to sandwich the quilt, but even as I said goodnight to it on my design wall last night....I had an inkling that the balance was off.

Here's what I saw.......Yes, it looks unfinished.....but I thought that when I bead the rays of the sun, it'd all pull together. This morning I knew better!

 So with rotary cutter in hand.....skinny rays of the sun were cut and arranged.  At first I thought....yeah....this is the right answer.  But as I gazed at it, clearly the sun was over-powering the entire quilt.

Okay....I can fix that.....what if I cut the long strips into shorter lengths....leaving spaces between them?  To see what that would look like...I cut pieces of white fabric and positioned them along some of the strips.  Again, I tried to talk myself into calling it....THE END.....but still wasn't right!

Here's what I settled on.  Since these pieces will be fused, obviously it would have been MUCH easier had these rays been added prior to stabilizing the top with the batting.  Now I'll remove the basting stitches behind this area...fuse the additional motifs and THEN hopefully find the entire composition pleasing enough to add the backing.  

Sure I wish I could move onto the quilting....but getting it right is the first goal....  Always remind yourself....quilt making doesn't have to be a sprint.....there's nothing wrong with treating as a marathon!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Today was our June PTA meeting. Member, Georgia Bonesteel, arranged for us to tour Oriole Mill in Hendersonville, NC.  The opportunity to see a working weaving mill in operation is very special. Be sure to follow the lint above to learn more.

The following 3 photos are examples of some of their designs....we all loved the colorful pieces. The mill is expert at Jacquard this video....the speed of these machines will blow your mind.

 This 73,000 sq/ft. facility is on 4 acres, run by a very small yet high energy staff who are dedicated to keeping the tradition of this area alive.  If I'm remembering correctly, this is only 1 of 4 mills remaining in this state.

 Because I'm not a weaver, it took me awhile to comprehend the process, even though we had a guide who shared tons of information.

This gigantic machine was dedicated to making the warp....which is the set of lengthwise threads/yarns that are held in tension on a frame/loom...or in this case the huge industrial machines.

 That process begins with super sized spools of real true fine Egyptian cotton thread.....
 The threads come off hundreds of spools  and are threaded through various tension disks that ultimately merge down to one end.  
 In this case each 'set' of warp was over 400 threads.
Many, many 'sets' are then loaded onto these huge spools on the machine. It can take a week to set up a machine with the thousands of warp threads!
Here several members are being tutored on how the weft threads are woven. (the horizontal thread that is sandwiched between the warp)
To conclude our day, owner/textile designer, Bethanne Knudson brought Georgia Bonesteel (left) an original Bonesteel Hardware store wood ruler.  The store is where Georgia had her quilting corner and where Lap Quilting began.

Bethanne's 80 year old mother's birthday was approaching and she hoped Georgia would autograph the ruler so she could present it to her Mom who is a big fan of Georgia's.

What a small world......Georgia was flattered, Bethanne was thrilled, and all PTA members were happy that we can call Georgia a friend!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


The Mountain Piecemakers in Burnsville, NC welcomed me so warmly yesterday.....these quilters live in quilt heaven.

This scenic mountain area features the largest collection of quilt blocks in the country.  They are displayed on everything from banks, to barns.

No wonder their members are so inspired!  If you ever get to the Asheville sure to drive about 45 minutes north/east and take a tour.  Follow this link to see the variety of blocks already displayed..... 

You may also enjoy learning more about this unique and rapidly copied idea of paying homage to our quilt history.  

Monday, June 11, 2012


Since I'm heading to visit the Mountain Piecemakers Quilt Guild in Burnsville, NC...I thought I'd leave you with something to ponder.  After all.....I hear from so many of you on a regular basis.....with blog comments or personal emails, this seems to fit.

My girlfriend and supreme quilter Linda Cantrell gave me permission to share something from her Facebook.

Friendship ~ None of that Sissy StuffAre you tired of those sissy 'friendship' poems that always sound good,
but never actually come close to reality?
Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship.
You will see no cute little smiley faces on this ~Just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.
  • When you are sad ~ I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.
  • When you are blue ~ I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
  • When you smile ~ I will know you are thinking of something that I would probably want to be involved in.
  • When you are scared ~ I will rag on you about it every chance I get until you're NOT.
  • When you are worried~ I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.
  • When you are confused ~ I will try to use only little words.
  • When you are sick ~Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
  • When you fall ~ I will laugh at your clumsy ass, but I'll help you up.
This is my oath ..... I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask ~ because you are my friend. 
Friendship is like peeing in your pants, everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


One major project has been consuming my time.  It's a quilt that will be donated to Bookworm Gardens as a memorial to my brother.

The piece is coming along slowly and I'm enjoying every minute.  Normally there is so much indecision when I'm designing a new piece, interestingly not this time.  Must be a reason!

I'll be sharing the entire process in a blog when it's complete but today I thought you might like to learn a trick I use during this process.  After arranging and rearranging placement of motifs.....I use my digital camera to document them. 

In this case, there were several flower stems that were going to be placed behind the 'grass'.  That portion of the quilt has only been basted in position (to allow access behind it before adding machine decorative stitches.)  So, after playing with placement, I took a photo & then machine stitched the background rick rack stems.  The others were then removed....the green grass area was machine stitched. Then with the aid of my photo....I was able to reposition each of the stems where I had determined they should be!

What did we ever do without digital cameras?!?!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


........the finishing details for this AAQI 2012 donation Priority Quilt.  For those of you attending Quilt Festival.....I hope you will visit the AAQI booth and perhaps take home one of the hundreds of quilts that will be for sale. I'm donating 3 pieces, made especially for this event. Help us in our fight to find a cure for Alzheimer's Disease!

 A simple facing seemed the best method to finish the edges of this small piece.  Naturally, beading would complete it!  

One way to audition bead color choices for your work is to simply pin a few beads in place....step back and take a good look.  Originally, the plan was to use light purple seed beads.....but I didn't feel they 'framed' the quilt well enough.  So instead, matte black seeds where my choice.

9" X 12"
Hand painted cotton, hand dyed gauze, hand embroidered & bead embellished.

Incidentally, I learned the 'pinkish' stones I mentioned using for the two horizontal lines are actually rose quartz.  But I still have no memory of where I got them!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

AH.....back to beading....

Are you like me??  A bit crabby when you can't squeeze in a little sewing time each day??  

Two lines of light pinkish beads.....not sure where I got them....have now been added to this AAQI donation quilt. They are more like uneven stones with holes in them so they sit in an interesting manner.  

The small black wood beads came from a piece of costume jewelry I took apart.  I might be calling this finished.....will think about it today before deciding upon the edging treatment.....  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


This is pretty lame...hardly worth showing....however we've had a lot of drama going on in our household which has prevented me from progressing on much of anything.

Things should be settling down so hopefully there will be more to share soon....
In the meantime.....I'm slowing plugging along on my 3rd. AAQI donation piece for their sale in the fall.

I talked about this little piece here and here.....

 I'm not sure how much more stitching there will be.....cause you gotta know....I'm itchin' to get at the beading stage....
.....although I do enjoy some mindless hand embroidery as well.....really....this isn't a race!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Each year, at the end of May, we all look forward to the Shady Ladies Quilt Show held at Lake Logan in Canton, NC.  

  The Shady Ladies are a group of local, national and international women who gather every Tuesday at the Shady Grove Methodist Church to quilt.

It's such fun to examine their self-portrait quilt that is displayed.  Each block is basically an individual bound quilt....the units are held together with safety pins!  What a clever way to be able to update the member's pieces!

 The highlight of the show is their annual challenge.  This year the theme was based on our quilting heritage.  The makers were required to include one of three historical quilt patterns..... (a.) Ohio Star  (b.) Log Cabin  (c.) Wedding Ring.  A few of those challenge quilts are posted here (as well as other pieces from the show).....most are available for purchase.  I'd be pleased to put you in touch with any of these quilt makers if you are interested....just email me using the link in the upper right side bar.

This piece made by Sally Pollock is entitled "Ohio Star" 27" x 26".  I love the simplicity of the design and how effectively she incorporated her block requirement into the patchwork sky.
 I personally always look forward to seeing Chris Regina's contribution for each challenge.  As always, it's striking!  "Cabin With a Twist" 32"x36" was made using hand dyed fabrics, machine quilted, and highlighted with Big Stitch hand quilting.

 "Serendipity" 27" x 29" was created by Jane Cole, a founder of the Shady Ladies.  It's machine pieced, quilted, fused, painted & hand stitched.  Jane's designs are always masterful, as are her construction skills. 
 "Triplets" 25" x 17" is another Jane Cole original.  Made using cottons, synthetics, machine quilted, hand stitching, & applique.

 I didn't see anyone who didn't stop and make positive comments about this charming piece.  "If Andy Had Known Our Baxter" 17" x 24" (NFS) by Barbara Wilkins.
According to the signage, the image was photo transferred and thread painted.
 There was so much to study on this piece.  The use of large scale fabric was very effective as is her color placement.  See below for more details.
The signage is included in this post to source the design.  The photo also provides a view of the free hand thread sketching that framed the pieced area so beautifully.

The show concludes if you are in the area......consider taking a quick run up to Lake Logan to see it....if not...mark your calendar and watch for it next year!

Friday, June 1, 2012


In early April I became a student for a two day workshop with Chad Hagen....loved every minute of her resist dye wool felt workshop.  

Happily I came away with a nice stack of dyed felt which are all (for me)  challenging designs to work with.  This is my first...

 As you all probably do too.......I begin by pulling materials that might work into the piece....
Some materials made the cut, others didn't.  And the 'others' may have been auditioned, stitched and then removed. That's the way these things go! 

This type of background stretches my design skills and I usually don't know where I'm going till I try.....and try again... 

Even though it was developing slowly......there was no spark.  So, I experimented trying out several color choices (using both beads and threads).  In the end, black seemed to work best.

I kept wanting to embellish the blue areas with beads, but all that did was mask the interesting aspect of the dyed sections.  Ultimately, I added random hand stitching, using two stands of a heavy rayon thread.

As the project developed.....this was the 'working' orientation. 

But now that it's finished....I'm thinking this is better?  What do you think?? 
Due to the size, I'm planning on mounting it for it's smart to know which way I want it to hang before I begin!

**UPDATE....well, I went ahead and decided to use this vertical view.